Recent skirmishes with the Customer Service departments of two different companies left me with these questions:
- Why do I buy their products?
- Don’t these companies know what such horrible customer service does to their brand image?
So much is written about “brand ambassadors”. It’s not a new concept, of course…
Several years ago, I was a Regional Sales Director for a small company that grew and packaged specialty lettuces and greens. At the core of the product line was a beautiful green known as “mâche” or lamb’s lettuce. It’s very much a niche item, and the company’s marketing budget was tiny. The Marketing Director asked us to extend the reach of her limited resources by supporting her efforts as “Brand Ambassadors” in our Regions.
There we were, an army of three Regional Directors, dispersed across the Lower 48, equipped with emerald green attire, a megaphone, pom-poms, batons and a one-man-marching-band assortment of instruments. Well, I exaggerate a bit, but as Brand Ambassadors, we were INFORMED, and we carried THE BRAND MESSAGE fully in sync with positioning and strategy.
In contrast, the horrible customer service I experienced recently was (mis)served by two large, deeply resourced companies, one a medical device firm and the other a telecommunications/cable company.
The medical device firm boasts, “Our mission is to provide you with World Class Customer Service”.
The first customer service representative I spoke with told me she was having replacement parts for our machine shipped “Now”, and we would see them 24 -28 hours later by UPS. Nine days and at least a dozen customer service reps later, still no parts, but an email saying “… your job ticket is complete and therefore, closed”. And further follow-up calls, where customer service representatives see no record of earlier calls, emails or job tickets.
Please help us if this is what “World Class Customer Service” has come to mean!!
The telecommunications/cable company sees itself as “a leading provider of integrated communications solutions, including local and long distance voice, data, high-speed Internet and entertainment services that keep (area) residential and business customers connected with each other and with the world.
Service has been intermittent for 7 days. One day on the phone with customer service, I was rocketed around the world three times as various off-shore customer service representatives repeatedly transferred me to “someone who can help”.
Yes, I do feel connected with the world I guess. So…mission accomplished?
Brand strategy HAS to integrate ALL customer engagement points successfully. Does your Customer Service team put out a message – in words as well as in their service – that supports your brand’s position?
If there is a place for Brand Ambassadors, Customer Service is certainly it. Insist that the right people are on staff and expertly trained to support your brand’s strategy, position and messaging.
Your brand’s future may depend on it.